Avoid These Three Mistakes to Help The Industry

No matter what field you’re in, it’s easy to become myopic after a while.

As a brewery owner, you may find yourself trying to improve things at your business, focusing on problems that seem to be specifically affecting you. 

Decision makers in the industry who recently spoke to Brewer Magazine said there are mistakes brewery owners may be making (or things they may not be doing) that, if corrected, could help not only them but craft beer as a whole.

Don’t Sell Bad Beer

Of course you’re not planning to make bad beer, right? But it’s not uncommon for something to go awry and for brewers to find themselves choosing between selling a beer they made that doesn’t meet their expectations or dumping it and taking a huge loss.

Derek Guggenberger, the Head Brewer and Director of Brewing Operations at Guggman Haus Brewing in Indianapolis, said brewers should avoid the temptation to stick it on the shelf and hope it will be fine, even though it may seem worth the risk.

“When breweries put out a beer they shouldn’t, it hurts the entire industry, not just that brewery,” Guggenberger said. “That beer could be someone’s first experience with craft beer, and if they have a bad experience it could make them less likely to try other craft beers.”

You can avoid the mistake in the future by changing your approach to making new varieties and trying new recipes.

“We have always taken the approach of dialing things in on a smaller scale first before making larger batches, ensuring our customers are never presented with a sub-par product,” he noted.

Don’t Forget About the Younger Market

You may still see yourself as representing the young market, but it may be time to wake up and smell the coffee.

“I see myself — an urban-dwelling white person in her mid-30s, reflected in so many of my coworkers and the guests we welcome into our spaces,” said Kelly Moritz, COO of Indeed Brewing in Minneapolis. “When I see a group of 21-year-olds hanging out, I almost do a double take.”

Many working in craft beer — a relatively young industry — entered around the same time, she said, and have been in the bubble for a similar span of years.

Making contact with the younger beer drinkers and knowing more about them is key, as is having them join your team.

“I think we risk a lot by not engaging with younger generations, whether through hiring, mentorship, structured feedback on new products, inspiration for new trends​ ​—​ ​all of that,” she said.

Get Actively Involved With Associations

While it might not help you sell more beer right this minute, taking an active role in associations is something Checkerspot Brewing owner Judy Neff said should be compulsory.

If you haven’t already done so, Neff said to join the Brewer’s Association or your state guild, the Baltimore brewery owner suggested.

“Everyone needs to participate in improving the laws to better the industry as a whole and not sit by while others do the work and benefit without contributing,” Neff said. “We are a special community that works together, so let’s keep it that way!”

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